Sunday, August 25, 2013

Still Life With Robin: Map of DC + 81 More

by Peggy Robin

Thanks to longtime list member and DC map fan Lindsley Williams, I learned about the DC government's new mapping site, DC Atlas Plus: This amazingly versatile site gives you any view of DC that you could possibly want: by property lots, by political boundaries, by schools, by health facilities, by recreation centers, by transportation systems or any of a dozen other categories or "layers." According to Office of the Chief Technology Officer (or OCTO - and yes, it sounds like a James Bond secret agency, but I did not make it up: see, there are over 300 different types of data you can map out using DC Atlas Plus.

After playing around with DC map layers for an hour or so, you might think I would be mapped out, but that was just got me warmed up. From DC I moved on to 40 mind-expanding world maps, which I found on the Twisted Sifter website, listed under the heading "40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World,"

In case you don't have time to look at all 40, my top picks of the group are these three:

# 17. US Map of the Highest Paid Public Employees by State:

# 23. If the world's 6.9 billion people lived in one city, how large would that city be if it were as dense as…. (maps showing the results for density comparisons with Paris, San Francisco, New York, London, Singapore, and Houston):

#39. Map of Europe Showing Literal Chinese Meanings for Countries:

If you're in the mood for another 40 maps on the same theme (and I'm not sure why these lists of maps seem to come in sets of 40...something to do with the length of the Biblical flood, perhaps?) then here's a compilation from the Washington Post's foreign affairs blogger, Max Fisher, which he calls "40 Maps That Explain the World," Most of the maps have links to information explaining how they were created and in some cases, what unexpected results they convey.

Of these 40 maps I particularly like:

#6. The countries where people are the most and least emotional:

#8. Where people are the most and least racially tolerant:

#36. Where atheists live:

But there's one map I'd like everyone to see that isn't part of a group. It's the unique creation of a graphic designer and urban planner, Neil Freeman, who drew his conception of the United States with state boundaries redrawn to create 50 new states of equal population. It's brilliant! Best of all, it gives us statehood, with the name Washington reserved for us, renaming the far northwestern corner of the continental US, "Rainier." If only this one piece of the map could become real....


Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv,, and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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